Friday, June 29, 2007

Buckingham considering tightening billboard rules

Buckingham is looking to beef up its rules for billboards, in order to avoid the headaches that Doylestown Township has seen.

Though the township already has restrictive rules, supervisors on Wednesday began pondering further limits, including a ban on video or electronic graphic signs, and size restrictions of 100 square feet.

“We think we're pretty well-protected, but we're considering strengthening that,” said Henry Rowan, supervisor chairman. “Every municipality is looking at that.”

The re-examination comes as Doylestown Township and the borough each enacted new rules after a 35-foot-high billboard was constructed at Route 611 in early January.

Alyssa Nace, a Mechanicsville resident, urged a strengthening of rules, telling supervisors she worried about those kind of billboards cropping up in Buckingham.

Rowan and Supervisor Jon Forest noted electrical signs are beginning to pop up in the area, as well, with the ordinance seeking to address them.

“They're coming,” Rowan said.

The rules being floated would prohibit billboards within 350 feet of a park or a residential or agricultural property. Off-premise signs could not be painted directly on a building.

The signs couldn't be placed in a way to interfere with the vision of drivers. Their overall height from the ground couldn't be more than 30 feet.


By: RILEY YATES (Thu, Jun/28/2007

Network CN Signs New Contract for 28 LED Video Panels and 24 Light Boxes on Shanghai's Nanjing Road

Network CN Inc. , a Chinese media and travel network company headquartered in Hong Kong, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to operate 52 two-sided rolling poster frame outdoor advertising panels located in the pedestrian mall on Nanjing Road (Nanjing Lu) in Shanghai. Network CN plans to convert 28 of the poster frames into LED digital video panels. Network CN will also convert the remaining 24 displays to bigger rolling light boxes to match the size of the new LED digital video panels.

The agreement, which could generate revenues for the Company by mid-August, 2007, extends through January, 2011. It was signed between Shanghai Chuangtian Advertising Company Ltd. and Network CN's subsidiary, Shanghai Quo Advertising Company Ltd.

"All the panels are located in the pedestrian mall on Nanjing Road, which positions them ideally to capture the attention of our clients' target audience. Together with the rights to two mega-size digital video billboards that we obtained in May 2007, we will have rolling light boxes, roadside LED panels and mega-size LED billboards covering the whole of Nanjing Road's pedestrian mall. This is another significant milestone in the expansion of our media network business in Shanghai, one of the key metropolitan areas in China," Godfrey Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Network CN, commented. "We are committed to creating value for our clients by leveraging our network coverage of the most exciting, highly visible areas in metropolitan China, spanning Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Wuhan."

Nanjing Road is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Shanghai, with more than 600 stores, restaurants and art galleries. It is the "Number One Commercial Street in China" in terms of total annual revenues. The prominence of Shanghai is growing as the 2010 Shanghai Expo approaches, spotlighting the Company's outdoor media presence.

"With the world-class events scheduled to take place in China in the next few years, we have secured a first-mover advantage in providing the highest- profile exposure for our clients' advertising," Mr. Hui added.

Idaho Governor Announces Amber Alert Partnership

Electronic Billboards Throughout Idaho To Be Included In Notification SystemJune 27, 2007

(POST FALLS) – Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter joined Colonel Jerry Russell, director of the Idaho State Police, in announcing a partnership with Lamar Advertising today that will expand and improve the statewide Amber Alert emergency notification system.

Lamar has agreed to participate in the Amber Alert system by donating the use of its digital billboards throughout Idaho. Colonel Russell, who leads Idaho’s Amber Alert program, and Scott Butterfield, Northwest Region manager for Lamar Advertising, put together the partnership to help increase public awareness and improve the chances for successful recovery in missing child cases.

“The extension of our digital billboards to the Amber Alert system in Idaho is in keeping with our policy of supporting the communities where we conduct business,” Butterfield said. “Through these billboards located throughout the state of Idaho, we have the potential to reach thousands of citizens. The general public often plays a critical role in locating a missing child. Lamar is pleased to be working with the state in a partnership to locate missing children.”

The announcement was made during a news conference at a Lamar electronic digital billboard in Post Falls near the intersection of Seltice Way and Huetter Road. Lamar also operates three digital billboards in the Boise area, two in Pocatello and one in Idaho Falls.

“Governor Otter has tasked me with building and maintaining strong relationships with law enforcement officials throughout Idaho, and providing the kind of support service to them that benefits all Idahoans. Improving the Amber Alert system by getting the word out faster to more people is part of that effort,” Colonel Russell said. “I appreciate Lamar’s willingness to devote resources to this good work.”

“Scott and his team have really gone out of their way to coordinate with the State Police and local law enforcement folks. Under Colonel Russell’s leadership, Idaho’s Amber Alert program is moving from little more than a good idea to a great tool for protecting our children and apprehending those who would do them harm,” Governor Otter said. “This is the kind of public-private partnership that makes both more effective. It connects citizens and our business community with our first responders in a positive way.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Logan supervisors poised to adopt billboard ordinance

Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA

Logan Township supervisors will consider an ordinance on rules for putting up signs. The document has no specific provisions regarding yard signs, which would fall under temporary signs. But yard signs cannot be stapled to utility poles or trees within a street right of way.()
Logan Township supervisors are ready to consider a 13-page ordinance spelling out a list of rules for putting up signs. It replaces what now takes up two-thirds of a page in the township’s zoning ordinance.“It’s not going to change what we have now, but it’s going to make a difference over time,” said Cassandra Schmick, zoning and development officer.Supervisors are scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday at the municipal building during the 7 p.m. meeting, when they will consider voting on the rules.Supervisors have talked for more than a year about updating the rules and came up with a version in May 2006 that drew criticism from developers who warned that national retailers and restaurant chains would look elsewhere if Logan’s sign rules were too restrictive.
Supervisors later turned the matter over to the planning commission for study and recommendations. The planning commission’s initial version called for banning billboards with liquid crystal display, or LCD, technology that permits them to flash as they change from dark to bright. That was revised after solicitor Larry Clapper explained that the township can only regulate, not ban, a particular type of sign.As proposed for adoption, LCD signs are permitted but only along the corridors in Logan’s business zones and adjoining properties within 100 feet of the right of way.The proposed rules also spell out that future billboards must be at least 500 feet apart and no larger than 300 square feet, unless they’re in the Interstate 99 corridor. Within the I-99 corridor — defined as property within 100 feet of the federal I-99 right of way — almost any sign can be up to 400 square feet.Schmick said the rules on proximity and size will make a difference in the township because current rules have no restrictions.Other provisions within the proposed ordinance spell out that political signs cannot be larger than 4 feet by 4 feet. They can’t be posted more than two months before an election and must be removed within two weeks after the election.Those posting political signs also must apply for a no-fee permit and write the permit number on the bottom right corner of the sign. That number is to be used to identify who is responsible when signs are not removed.Other sections of the proposed ordinance outlaw signs that revolve, emit smoke, make noise or allow glare beyond the property on which it is located.
The ordinance has no specific provisions regarding yard signs but Schmick said they would fall under temporary signs which do not need a permit. But yard signs, as well as all other signs, cannot be stapled or attached to utility poles or trees within a street right-of-way. That’s another provision in the proposed rules.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

Source: Altoona Mirror June 28, 2007

ClearChannel tests light-emitting diode billboards in the Orlando market

June 27, 2007

When Saturn of Orlando's marketing director advertised on a standard billboard, she had to wait a month before a requested new ad actually materialized alongside the highway. Creating and installing the new vinyl ad cost $500 to $750 for each board.But when Sabrina Case began advertising on an electronic billboard on U.S. Highway 17-92 in Longwood in late February, she simply e-mailed her new ad to the sign's owner -- and saw the results on the drive home later that day."I called at 3 o'clock, and by drive time it was changed," Case recalled recently.

Saturn of Orlando is one of several businesses that have already taken advantage of the first light-emitting diode billboards to pop up in Central Florida. In addition to the one in Longwood, ClearChannel Outdoor earlier this month installed 14-by-48-foot billboards on Interstate 4 near Fairbanks Avenue and on State Road 408 near Kirkman Road.Unlike standard billboards, LED boards use light-emitting diodes to display information and images -- the digital technology used in alarm clocks, traffic lights and giant screens in sports stadiums. That means ads can change instantly, which gives advertisers flexibility in outdoor advertising they can't get on standard billboards."You can do Egg McMuffins in the morning and Big Macs at noon," said Katy Bachman, a senior editor at Mediaweek magazine.LED boards multiply profit for billboard companies because they sell the same space to more customers, Bachman said. Ads for different services replace each other every eight seconds, while standard billboards often advertise the same product round-the-clock for a month, said Craig Swygert, president of ClearChannel Outdoor's Orlando division.Bachman said the digital boards -- which already have debuted in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tallahassee, Lakeland and Destin -- cost two or three times as much as conventional billboards. But they can really pay off for the owner.She cited numbers from an October 2006 conference call between analysts and ClearChannel Outdoor executives. Seven standard billboards in Cleveland, ClearChannel Outdoor's first "digital" billboard market, returned $380,000 in revenue from July 2004 to July 2005. In July 2005, the standard billboards were converted to digital. The new billboards generated $3.5 million from January 2006 to December 2006, according to company projections.In exchange for some event tickets, the Central Florida Sports Commission is getting ad time on the local LED billboards for its Central Florida Mascot Games, a three-day "competition" involving sports-team mascots from across the country.The commission began changing its message regularly last week to reflect updates in the list of mascots planning to attend, President John Saboor said. Once the games start Thursday, the boards will change to reflect the results of the tournament until it ends Saturday, he said.But you won't see any mascots dancing or doing flips on the billboards. Orange County, for one, prohibits flashing or sparkling lights on billboards, while state law limits the frequency of changes in a sign's images, said Mitch Gordon, the county's zoning manager. "They can't have anything distracting, flashing lights, or any kind of animation," he said.Saturn did not renew its three-month contract with ClearChannel Outdoor when it ended May 27 because the company's national advertising agency decided instead to advertise on about 15 static ClearChannel billboards in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, Sabrina Case said.But she also said the short display time for each ad on the digital board -- eight seconds -- was a "major consideration" in Saturn's decision not to renew. Although Case said she considers LED advertising "cost-effective," she said a display time of 10 to 15 seconds would make it a more attractive vehicle for her sales message."I wouldn't have as much competition at a stoplight," she said.

Source Orlando Sentinel June 27, 2007

Digital billboard must come down - Murfreesboro

June 27, 2007


An appeal on the revocation of a sign permit for a digital billboard sign installed by Lamar Advertising in March was denied by the Murfreesboro Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday.“This is a sign that is not permitted in the (city sign) ordinance and so forth it is prohibited,” said board member John Rodgers before the board voted unanimously to deny Lamar’s appeal.He said the sign located on Old Fort Parkway near the freestanding Starbucks Coffee House was not built according to the plans submitted to the city of Murfreesboro.The digital sign displays approximately 16 different advertisements that change every 10 seconds.Murfreesboro’s sign ordinance, which was undated earlier this year, prohibits commercial and non-commercial flashing and electronic message center signs.According to city building officials, Lamar Advertising submitted a sign permit application indicating it was going to reinstall an indirectly illuminated 10-foot, 6-inch-by-36-foot billboard, and that the billboard would not contain any moving devices. The construction cost would not exceed $24,000.Construction on the sign began Feb. 21, 2007 and was completed March 13. The city stated Lamar Advertising was notified verbally that it was in violation of the sign ordinance on March 13 and was mailed a letter on March 27.Lamar Advertising originally requested the sign permit to rebuild its billboard sign in May 2004, but it wasn’t issued until October 2004. That permit and another subsequent permit expired before the final permit was issued in November 2006.Knoxville Attorney Lawrence Leibowitz, who represented Lamar, said the sign is lawful. He said the use of the sign was established before the city placed a moratorium on electronic signs in January 2007.Lamar’s attorney also indicated that state law allowed for the sign to be updated and grandfathered in under a preexisting sign ordinance.Board chair Bill Nelms and other board members weren’t sure if the city’s definition of flashing or electronic message center signs in the sign ordinance pertain to the Lamar sign in question.“I am not sure if this ordinance deals with this technology that we have in this sign,” Nelms said. Technology has sped past this sign ordinance. The technology and the sign industry is moving faster than the Murfresboro City Council has been able to move to keep up with it.”

Source: Murfreesboro Post

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Zoning staff to look at going digital in Lafayette

LAFAYETTE, La. -- Converting billboards in Lafayette to digital screens _ and slowly reducing the number of billboards overall _ will be considered by zoning staff in coming weeks.
At the May 21 Zoning Commission meeting, zoning staff recommended changing Lafayette's zoning ordinance to add specific regulations for digital billboard conversions.
Billboard owners questioned vagueness in some parts of the proposal. The Zoning Commission told the staff to spend up to eight weeks getting input from owners and residents, and tighten the proposal overall.
Since 2003, no new billboards have been allowed to go up in Lafayette. Refacing is allowed, and since then, five boards have been converted from traditional paste-up to digital display screens.
"We are literally breaking ground here," said Eleanor Bouy, director of Planning, Zoning and Codes. "No one else (around the country) has solid laws in place for this really."
But questions arose for the zoning staff about whether bright lights and rotating images posed a hazard for drivers and residents nearby. They also questioned whether the overhaul of a billboard to digital display should be considered "conventional refacing."
The recommendations they gave the commission would require owners to remove two regular billboards they own on that road for every one billboard converted, and digital boards couldn't be within 300 feet of homes or within 1,500 feet of another board like it.
"We're not trying to make it a huge issue, but do believe some specific regulations are warranted," said Denise Womack, zoning manager. "This is new technology and something every community in the country is dealing with simultaneously."
Donna Robinson, a resident of Bendel Gardens subdivision, told commission members the sign outside her home flashes images through her bedroom windows regularly.
Board owners like Lamar told the commission they want the change so they can take advantage of new technology. Digital boards are cheaper to operate and safer in areas where storms could blow paste-up panels off the billboard, said Wayne Pixon, owner of one local billboard.
Lane Parker, vice president of Lamar, said there's a lot of clarification needed to some of the zoning staff stipulations, particularly removal of two boards for every one digital refacing.
If an owner converted one sign on Johnston Street to digital, the recommendation wasn't clear on where other signs would be removed from if no more were on the same street, Parker said.
Commissioner John Barras also wanted staff to consider setting standards for the speed advertisements would rotate on a sign, citing concern that rapid movements would distract drivers.
The majority of southern cities the zoning staff studied permit digital billboards, and some regulate brightness and speed to limit their impact.

Des Moine Council sets interval for electronic billboards

Published June 19, 2007

By Melissa Walker Register Staff writer

Des Moines City Council members went against a recommendation from the zoning commission and reduced the time lapse between images for electronic billboards in the city.Council members voted 6-0 on Monday to approve eight-second intervals between image shifts for electronic billboards. Councilman Tom Vlassis was absent from the meeting.City Manager Rick Clark recommended that the council approve an interval shorter than the 20-second interval recommended by the city's Plan and Zoning Commission.City officials began addressing the issue earlier this year after Clear Channel Outdoor put up an electronic billboard at the northeast corner of 63rd Street and Grand Avenue in Des Moines. Some city officials thought the changing images on the billboard could cause traffic accidents.Steve Wandro, an attorney for Clear Channel, argued the billboard isn't distracting because images change instantly."These aren't the kinds of signs you see in Times Square or Las Vegas or the Sunset Strip," he said.Clear Channel general manager Tim Jameson said having a 20-second interval would hurt his company because advertisements are sold in eight-second intervals.Council members delayed taking action until August on setting guidelines for where billboards can be placed until city employees work out details.Mayor Frank Cownie said he has concerns about the amount of electricity the signs use and wants the council to be able to review replacement of billboards with electronic billboards on a case-by-case basis. "I don't want one out there by Gray's Lake, I'll tell you that," he said.Jameson said Clear Channel has given the city of Des Moines the equivalent of $600,000 in free advertising since January in the form of public service ads. Other types of public safety messages such as Amber Alerts also can be seen on the electronic billboards.The company has 407 billboards in Des Moines and plans to convert a handful of them to electronic billboards, Jameson told the council.

Lower Macungie says 'no sale' to new billboard style

From The Morning Call

June 10, 2007

Township bans signs that change more than once every 3 minutes.

By Randy Kraft Of The Morning Call
In Lower Macungie, the future may be over for electronic billboards with rapidly changing messages.The same goes for signs, screens and displays with ''sudden bursts of light or sound,'' animation, flashing, images or flowing words.Despite objections from a representative of the outdoor advertising industry that included a warning of a possible legal challenge, township supervisors voted 2-0 on Thursday to amend their zoning ordinance to ban signs with images that change more than once every three minutes.The new law won't change the operation of one electronic billboard already flashing in Lower Macungie or a second one that has received approval, zoning officer James Lancsek said.The zoning amendment states that such signs are ''injurious to the township's public health, safety and welfare.''The legislation was recommended by the township Planning Commission, which is concerned such rapidly changing signs create unsafe distractions for motorists. Lancsek suggested the commission make that recommendation to supervisors.''To my knowledge, Lower Macungie is the first municipality to address this in an ordinance in Lehigh County,'' said Olev Taremae, chief planner for the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, which reviews and comments on such proposed ordinances. The Valley commission had no comment about Lower Macungie's zoning change, saying ''it is a matter of local concern.''Taremae said some people have concerns about whether such signs create additional distractions for motorists as well as the impact of their lights on neighbors at night.''But in our two counties, we really haven't seen a lot of ordinance-type reaction to it,'' Taremae said.Such signs have been prohibited in Bethlehem Township since 1997, Township Manager Jon Hammer said.Lamar Advertising already has a frequently changing electronic billboard in Lower Macungie, along Hamilton Boulevard between Charcoal Drive-In and Interstate 78. Lancsek said it was installed months ago and will not be affected by the new law.Mary Crocker, a real estate representative from Adams Outdoor Advertising, objected to the zoning change during a public hearing before the vote.She said electronic signs are the newest technology used throughout the country and warned the new law would invite a challenge from her industry.Crocker said no safety studies show such signs are hazardous. She unsuccessfully encouraged supervisors to take a harder look at the issue before voting and speak with outdoor advertising companies.She said three minutes is ''extremely long and defeats the purpose of having a sign that changes,'' adding the industry standard is signs that change every 10 seconds. She said the state Department of Transportation allows signs to change every five seconds.After the meeting, Crocker said even if a sign changes only once every three minutes to avoid being a distraction, someone still will be driving by when the image shifts.Her company already has a township permit to convert an existing billboard along Hamilton Boulevard near Krocks Road into an electronic sign with changing images.''We change in 10 seconds, so there are six messages a minute,'' she said.Lancsek confirmed Adams can install that sign because it had its permit to do so before the law changed.The law was approved by Supervisors Dennis Hinkel and Marilyn Jones. Supervisor Kenneth DeAngelis was absent.Lancsek became concerned about such signs months ago, when Adams demonstrated them for local zoning officers and other public officials.

Texarkana zoning commission OKs warehouse site plan,

By: Aaron Brand - Texarkana Gazette -

Published: 06/06/2007

The Texarkana, Texas, Planning and Zoning Commission approved a warehouse site plan for the 900 block of North Robison Road during a regular monthly meeting Monday night. David Williams of MTG Engineering spoke on behalf of the project. He said R.E. Michel Co. Inc., which made the site plan request, is a Maryland-based wholesale distributor of heating and air conditioning supplies and intends to put a metal, industrial, wholesale warehouse building at the site. The first phase of the project calls for a 14,900-square foot building and there is the possibility for future expansion, said Williams. The commission voted to deny a specific use permit request for an outdoor, off-the-premise billboard at 3716 Summerhill Road.
George Dobson of Lamar Advertising Co. spoke on behalf of the plans for George Lavender, property owner. Dobson said the intention is to place a digital, back-to-back billboard on some general retail-zoned property north of commercial-zoned property also owned by Lavender at Peoples State Bank. In commercial zoning, a specific use permit is required to place a billboard.
Dobson said the sign will not have animated motion on it and would be situated at an angle to appeal more to drivers traveling southbound on Summerhill. However, after much discussion about consistency issues and other Summerhill Road properties being zoned general retail, the commission voted to deny the request. In other business, the commission voted to recommend renewal of the specific use permit for the continued location of a HUD code, double-wide manufactured home. The property is 1.7 acres at 2109 McCormick St.

Meeting set to discuss billboard restrictions

Sunday, June 10, 2007


The Plan Commission will have a public hearing Thursday on an ordinance that would regulate where and what type of signs and billboards could be placed in the city.The ordinance is designed to streamline and tighten loopholes in existing ordinances after last month's requests to the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Plan Commission to allow them in nontraditional places.Last month, the Plan Commission denied a request to rezone two parcels that would allow billboards to be built on railroad property along Mississippi Street and Interstate 65.Earlier this year, developer Larry Alt and Associates offered to pay $280,000 to purchase land at Robinson Lake Park and erect billboards along I-65. That proposal was tabled by the Board of Works.The Board of Zoning Appeals approved a request to move a billboard about 150 feet, but at the same time denied a request to add a billboard in the location where that billboard originally was built.Other business people have approached the boards, asking to install LED display signs or asking permission to advertise for outside businesses on their signs.City Planner Sergio Mendoza said the sign ordinance would regulate the size and placement of billboards as well as regulate how often signs with movable type could flash or flutter.It also would provide illustrations of different types of signs, where they should be placed near buildings and what size they should be.Thomas Vander Woude, an unpaid intern who is a graduate student at the University of Illinois - Chicago, worked with Mendoza on the ordinance."We want to maintain our character and be able to distinguish our community," Mendoza said.

Source: The Times, Munster, Indiana

Billboard zoning expected to get OK in Peters

Thursday, May 31, 2007

By Janice Crompton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Motorists in Peters soon are likely to see the familiar wood and paper billboards along Route 19 replaced by light emitting diode -- or LED -- electronic signs.
Although the township banned billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising several years ago through a zoning ordinance, about a half dozen pre-existing billboards along Route 19 between the Upper St. Clair border and McDowell Lane were exempt from the ban.
Lamar Advertising, which owns four of the billboards at the intersection of Valleybrook Road and Route 19, planned to convert them to electronic billboards, but was turned down by the township zoning department. The company has appealed the decision.
After further review by township Solicitor William Johnson, it was determined that the township's zoning laws governing billboards likely could not withstand a legal challenge because the state recognizes outdoor advertising as a legitimate business, not to be banned by a local municipality.
To correct the flaw, Peters council on Monday held a public hearing before its regular board meeting to discuss a proposed ordinance that would address outdoor advertising.
The new ordinance, expected to be approved at council's June 11 meeting, would allow billboards as a permitted use in C-2 commercially zoned districts, and would include a series of provisions, such as a maximum size of 250 square feet, 750-foot spacing between signs and a requirement that billboards must be the principal use of the property on which they stand.
Owners would need to apply for permits from the township and state Department of Transportation, and electronic images on the signs must be maintained for at least 30 seconds, with no flashing.

Digital billboards: The future of advertising or danger to drivers?

Eric Morath / The Detroit News

If you haven't noticed digital billboards yet, you must be keeping your eyes on the road.
CBS Outdoor installed one of the 48-foot-wide LED boards earlier this week at Interstate 75 and State Fair Avenue in Detroit. There is another about two miles south, and still more of the blinking behemoths have cropped up along I-275 and I-94.
Advertising firms love the $450,000 digital screens composed of tens of thousand of tiny lights because they are easily customized and can serve four to six clients at a time.
Others call them distractions and eyesores, and some towns in other states have banned them from roadsides.
Advantages of the digital boards range from a better quality of image when compared with traditional signs to easier installation of ads. Consider the difference between rolling out 600 square feet of vinyl in the snow and ice versus creating a new image with a few clicks of the mouse.
"There are times in January where it can take a week or two to get a crew out to change a sign," said Tom Carroll, the Detroit-based Midwest vice president for CBS Outdoor. Now, ads can change in minutes via an Internet connection.
That's an efficient way to multiply revenue. CBS is charging clients comparable rates for the cutting edge board as it does for its traditional signs, but its Detroit billboard this week was serving three clients, running a total of four ads.
Some want 'eyesores' to go
One client, Ram Real Estate, was attracted by the flexibility and uniqueness. "If we're running a special promotion we can call and have our ad updated," said Ram sales associate Brienne Balliet. "We thought the digital sign would catch a lot of eyes on I-75, especially with the Lodge closed."
Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the new signage.
Detroit should brace for Las Vegas-style eyesores that could lead to traffic accidents, said Kevin Fry, president of Scenic America, a Washington-based opponent of the new signs.
"Your eye is drawn to these things every six seconds it's like a giant PowerPoint in the sky," he said. Fry said the billboards are likely to distract drivers from the road for more than two seconds -- the amount of time some studies have shown is dangerous for motorists to look at cell phones or iPods.
Municipalities in Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere have fought the signage. None in Michigan has yet contacted the state Department of Transportation, which regulates billboards. State lawmakers did update regulations this year to say digital signs must dim at night and may not exceed a certain brightness.
The advertising industry defends the boards and says the devices can be used for Amber Alerts and public safety messages.
Motorists like technology
Many motorists find them to be fun, but not distracting, said Jeremy Johnson, digital billboard sales manger for South Dakota-based Daktronics. His company makes some of the digital boards going up in Metro Detroit. They also produce scoreboards and video walls for sports stadiums using similar technology.
"We don't want to create any negative safety environment," Johnson said. "The industry is conscious of that. There are no videos and we work to make them look as much like traditional billboards as possible."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Better warning signs might have given motorists a better chance

A call for displays on same road that banned them ??

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Although a Pennsylvania Turn pike spokesman declared Satur day's fatal crash near the Lancaster-Lebanon exit to be a "once-in-a-decade accident," in truth it was an accident waiting to happen.
Both east and west of the exit, vehicles were backed up considerable distances on the turnpike, as people flocked to the Celtic Fling at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. The turnpike anticipated the crush of attendees at the fling, held at the Mount Hope Estate and Winery just south of the exit, and had warning signs ahead of the exits. But they clearly were not enough to prevent an accident that claimed three lives and injured four other people.
The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer failed to heed the warnings of slow traffic ahead and plowed into the rear of an automobile, setting off a chain-reaction crash that would become engulfed in flames.
A State Farm-sponsored turnpike safety patrol vehicle provided valuable service by offering real-time information on an electronic billboard following the accident as it moved down the line of the growing backlog of traffic. The westbound lanes of the turnpike would not open for another nine hours.
State police numbers are arguably insufficient, but they often are present when highway construction is under way, with their lights flashing, serving as a warning with teeth. Likewise, given the avalanche of people seeking to attend the Celtic Fling and the ensuing backup on a highway with a 65-mph speed limit, there should have been state police vehicles with flashing lights at both ends of the backup, warning oncoming vehicles of the crawling traffic just ahead.
The turnpike also needs to upgrade its message system. Permanent electronic billboards would be appropriate in the approaches to exits that periodically receive traffic volumes heavy enough to push vehicles back on to the turnpike itself. More timely highway information also should be available to motorists at turnpike entrances.

Lamar Aggressive on Digital Displays

June 25, 2007

NEW YORK — Sean Reilly, president of Lamar Advertising Co.'s outdoor division, said Monday the billboard advertising provider is increasing its number of digital displays aggressively, with plans to have more than 600 units up by the end of the year.
Speaking at the Wachovia Securities 2007 Nantucket Equity Conference in Nantucket, Mass., Reilly said Lamar's digital component is quickly becoming a larger portion of its revenue. Digital accounted for 2 percent of sales last year and are at approximately 5 percent of revenue as of May.
Digital billboards continue to meet expectations, with 463 units in 113 markets as of Friday.
Lamar's goal is to put up 1 digital display per business day, Reilly said.

Toll Plaza advertising rejected

In the USA, advertisinig in and around toll plazas is not permitted . See link to report

School district denied electronic-billboard deal

Last Updated: 3:55 pm Thursday, April 26, 2007


A request by the Newport Independent School District to allow a company to build an electronic billboard on school property was denied by the state because electronic billboards are illegal.
The decision jeopardizes a $660,000 deal the district has with Norton Advertising to put up a two-sided electronic billboard near Newport High's football field along Interstate 471.
It also may mean changes to electronic billboards in Northern Kentucky. Lamar Outdoor Advertising has put up one on Interstate 75 at 12th Street in Covington and another on I-471 in Newport.
Newport schools hoped the revenue from the 15-year lease to Norton Advertising would offset renovations to the high school's sports facility, including the artificial turf on the football field, and give the district a steady income.
The school district asked the state for a permit. Highway Commissioner Marc Williams wrote a letter dated April 24 to school Superintendent Michael Brandt stating the cabinet could not allow the billboard.
State regulations do not allow billboards to be "illuminated by flashing, intermittent or moving lights." State law also prohibits advertising devices along highways with animated parts and with more than "two messages per direction of travel," according to the letter.
The school district argued that other electronic billboards in Northern Kentucky had set a precedent.
Williams concluded Lamar's billboards are illegal. The state issued Lamar a violation last year.
Lamar vice president Tom Fahey said the company is negotiating with the state to bring the billboards into compliance, but said he doesn't know what type of agreement could be reached.
Norton Advertising and the school district have plans to build a standard, two-sided billboard, Brandt said.
A standard billboard will generate $16,000 a year, instead of $44,000 for the electronic billboard, Brandt said. Also, Norton had agreed to give the school district 500 eight-second spots per day on the billboard to promote school events and messages, Brandt said.
Brandt said the district and state representatives will work to change the laws governing billboards.
"It is one of those unfortunate situations where new technology is increasing across the country, and some laws here are not in tune with the new technology," Brandt said. "It is a shame a school district catches a break and happens to be in a unique position with a public-private partnership and gets shot down with rules and regulations. That is $200,000 plus we may not be able to take advantage of. It is a shame the state is not more flexible when it comes to school districts.

Madison Supes reject electronic billboard ban

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An attempt to ban digital billboards in the county was denied yesterday by the Board of Supervisors.District 1 Supervisor Doug Jones introduced an ordinance in the county that would have universally prohibited electronic digital billboards from all existing and future billboard locations.District 3 Supervisor Tim Johnson, who received a campaign donation from an association comprised in part of companies that make digital billboards, led the opposition to Jones' proposed ordinance.The ordinance failed on a 3-2 vote, with Board President and District 3 Supervisor Andy Taggart voting with Jones.The ordinance would have been part of a general update to county ordinances, which the county authorized to publicly advertise by a 5-0 vote.Jones said that he proposed the ordinance because of the distraction these billboards cause to drivers."They are a distraction to traffic, because of the messages that they give are so brilliant in color and can change very often, and could be a distraction to the operator of a vehicle," Jones said.He said that besides safety concerns, the quality of life is diminished in neighborhoods located near these billboards."Where those signs are located next to a residential area, it literally changes the lighting and the colors in and around people's houses," said Jones. "If they're cooking outside, their backyards change colors and brightness with the changes in the billboards."Jones said that after speaking with Madison Alderman-at-Large Lisa Clingan-Smith, he drafted an ordinance to prohibit the billboards in the county.Pending an appeal, Madison is set to annex portions of what is currently unincorporated land in the county.Clingan-Smith said that while Madison's ordinances prohibit any billboards in city limits, she was concerned about the new digital billboards in Jackson and Ridgeland."My concern was for the annexed area, as well as for the county," said Clingan-Smith, who said that her phone call to Jones about the issue was "a courtesy call."Ridgeland currently has two operating digital billboards. One is along County Line Road and another one is on the west side of U.S. 51 just north of Interstate 55.According to Mayor Gene McGee, the city is currently considering a request by Lamar Advertising to build three new digital billboards within the city.In return, McGee said that the city, which prefers to have no billboards in its limits, might request that Lamar concurrently remove existing billboard structures to compensate for the new digital billboards."They're requesting three, and we haven't granted that yet," said McGee.Jones' ordinance was defeated after concerns were raised by Johnson about a blanket prohibition of the ordinance."The bottom line is, I like the digital billboards. I like the way they look," said Johnson on Tuesday.According to a campaign finance report filed with Circuit Clerk Lee Westbrook's office, Johnson received a $680 campaign donation from the Outdoor Advertising Association of Mississippi, based in Jackson.Watkins Ludlam Winter and Stennis attorney Mark Herbert, who practices law in the outdoor advertising area, said that this association is a state chapter of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.This latter association, Herbert said, is in favor of digital billboards where appropriate."Generically, as an industry, they do support that," said Herbert.Herbert represents Lamar Advertising, which is a member of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Mississippi.Johnson denied that his decision was based on the donation by the advertising association to his campaign. He called any accusations of influence peddling "cheap" and "pretty petty.""That's a bunch of bull crap. That's the way you do business. You have to raise money to run your campaign," said Johnson, who is running unopposed in this year's election.
Related Links

Source: Madison County Journal, Madison, Mississippi

PENNDOT dooms Crossroads giant glowing digital billboard

Howard Frank
Pocono Record Writer
April 25, 2007

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has ordered the Crossroads Travel Center to take down the large digital billboard on Interstate 80, or PennDOT will take it down for them.A letter was sent from PennDOT to JP Ertle Development LP, according to Ron Young, District 5 press officer for PennDOT. It notified Ertle of two violations involving the sign: the absence of a permit for the electronic billboard and for advertising off-premises businesses on the sign.According to Young, the letter states that the billboard is in violation of the Outdoor Advertising Control Act of 1971, which requires a state permit for billboards along controlled highways like I-80. The letter also said the Crossroads billboard violates the prohibition on advertising off-site activities. The Outdoor Advertising Control Act, the letter continues, requires the removal of prohibited signs.Young said the letter states, "We are requesting they remove the sign so it will not be necessary for the department to remove and dispose of it."The letter from PennDOT was dated April 17 and gives Ertle 30 days from receipt to comply.PennDOT has not received a reply to the letter. Crossroads developer Jim Ertle could not be reached late in the day for comment.The giant animated billboard flashes messages at westbound drivers on Interstate 80. The sign was converted to a digital display last year without a PennDOT permit. It's not clear why there was no permit application made when the sign was upgraded amid much fanfare. Ertle hosted a "grand opening" party when the sign was lit and touted its value for displaying public safety messages such as Amber Alerts.PennDOT said last month it was investigating the legality of the jumbo sign, which opponents fear is an unsafe distraction for drivers.The Crossroads billboard is one of about 400 such digital signs across the country.

Digital billboards spark safety debate

Web Posted: 04/28/2007 12:00 PM CDT

Meena ThiruvengadamExpress-News Business Writer

Is a digital billboard more distracting than your iPod, cell phone or in-car video entertainment system?
Not according to Paul Meyer, global president of Clear Channel Outdoor, the country's top-selling billboard advertiser. But some municipalities across the country disagree, calling digital signs that change messages every few seconds a potential danger to motorists.
In an era when consumers can fast-forward commercials, switch radio stations and choose not to click on Internet links, digital billboards have become a darling of the advertising industry.
They can't be avoided, especially by drivers battling traffic to get home after a long day of work. Their images can be changed instantaneously, and several ads now can take the place of one, multiplying profits for companies such as Clear Channel Outdoor.
"Digital billboards and billboards in general are a form of advertising that can compete with the Internet," Meyer said.
Of Clear Channel's more than 160,000 billboards in the U.S., 54 are digital.
That's roughly 10 percent of all digital billboards in the U.S.The company, which operates some of the glowing signs that Times Square is famous for, launched its first digital network in Cleveland two years ago. The Phoenix-based business, 90 percent owned by San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications Inc., plans to add 100 new digital billboards in 20 markets this year.
"All of our competing media are struggling to maintain their audience," Meyer said. "Outdoor, by the very nature of our society, is an audience which every single year grows."
Billboards are the second-fastest-growing form of advertising behind the Internet, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
The more time people spend in their cars, the longer commutes get and the heavier traffic grows, the more time billboard advertisers have with consumers on the road.
Nationwide, about 500 of the country's more than 450,000 billboards are digital, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America reports.
The association projects 1,000 new digital signs could be erected during the next few years.
Some digital conversions, though, are being delayed by city councils and planning commissions.
"Digital billboards represent a significant threat to communities around the country," said Kevin Fry, president of Scenic America, an organization whose mission is to keep America scenic. "These signs, because they are so bright, ratchet the ugliness level up to a point we haven't seen before."
But critics insist opinions on aesthetics come second to safety concerns.
"These signs are potentially very dangerous," Fry said. "Anything that distracts you from looking straight ahead at the road for more than two seconds significantly increases the potential for crashes. No one can reasonably argue you will be looking at those digital signs for fewer than two seconds."
Still, a 2003 report from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said there is no effective way to evaluate the potential safety effects of electronic billboards.
"Billboards have been around for 100 years," Clear Channel's Meyer said. "There has been absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they in any way contribute to traffic safety concerns."
And outdoor advertising consistently must comply with three distinct sets of regulations — local, state and federal.
"We have a very high regulatory hurdle for any kind of outdoor advertising," said Myron Laible, vice president for state and local regulatory affairs for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. "It's ultimately up to the locality to work out outdoor advertising controls."
In Cleveland, Clear Channel was able to use a years-long battle with the city to strike a deal. In exchange for permission to erect digital billboards along Cleveland highways, the company agreed to tear down older signs within the heart of the city.
The move was seen as a shift in the traditional adversarial relationships between outdoor advertisers and the communities they inhabit, but clearly it hasn't ended the battle over billboards.
Clear Channel's digital billboard network in the Twin Cities of Minnesota is in limbo until city leaders there decide whether signs are a distraction to drivers or a nuisance to neighbors.
"It's one of those things where our ordinance doesn't keep pace with technology," said Kathy Lantry, a St. Paul city councilwoman. St. Paul has placed a moratorium on digital billboard technology so that it can be studied in further detail.
"It's the kind of issue in the industry we face all the time," Meyer said.
Des Moines, Iowa, placed a moratorium on digital billboards in February to study its potential safety ramifications. The city currently has at least one digital billboard operated by Clear Channel.
"The content is beautiful, but my fear is that it is a distraction," said Tom Vlassis, the Des Moines city councilman who proposed the city's moratorium on the technology.
In Wichita, Kan., where Clear Channel recently announced plans for a digital network, city leaders are debating whether to dim the electronic boards' lights.
Other cities are embracing the digital billboards — at least to some extent.
In Albuquerque, police use the signs for recruiting. Across the country, Amber Alert, weather services and America's Most Wanted use them to display warnings and to post photos of fugitives or missing children.
Still, Scenic America's Fry doesn't think that's enough to make adopting the technology worth it.
"It's not appropriate to create one kind of public safety problem to help another," he said.
But no evidence exists to suggest digital billboards are more dangerous than their low-tech predecessors.
"As long as you do not display video, and as long as all you are doing is changing static images, there's no reason to think digitals would be less safe than tri-visions," Meyer said, referring to a type of message-changing billboard that flips images and is allowed in many cities across the country.
James hendricks/staff -->Hed: Digital technology intensifies billboard battleSummary: In an era where consumers can fast-forward commercials, switch radio stations and choose not to click on Internet links, digital billboards have become a darling of the advertising industry. But some municipalities across the country disagree; calling glitzy digital signs that change messages every several seconds a potential danger to motorists.

Heads going to roll in the digital revolution

A look into the future

Controversy bright lights Billboards a concern

April 24, 2007 12:35 am

Electronic billboards, like this one along U.S. 1 in Falmouth, are being criticized by some for being unsightly and distracting to motorists. Click for larger photo and to order reprints

by Hugh Muir

Some 500 dazzling new-era advertising signs have lit up across the nation in the past few years; three of them are prominently on display in Stafford County.
One result of their presence has been growing public concern over safety.
The Stafford Planning Commission will hold a public hearing May 16 to discuss those billboards. The debate focuses mainly on whether the signs pose a safety threat to drivers by distracting their attention. Meanwhile, preservationists and historians call the bright lights a blight on the landscape.
County officials fear that the signs can be similar to television screens or computer monitors where images change periodically.
Each high-tech billboard, approximately 8 feet by 20 feet, sits atop a pole that is two stories tall. It is made up of thousands of light-emitting diodes similar to the bright bulbs in the taillights of new vehicles.
The signs alternate some half dozen static ads every eight seconds. The law forbids changes more often than every six seconds, which would be seen as a distraction.
The three electronic billboards in Stafford are on U.S. 1 just north of the intersection with U.S. 17, on U.S. 17 west of the University of Mary Washington School of Graduate and Professional Studies and on Garrisonville Road west of Interstate 95. They were installed within the past year.
Their appearance has triggered the Planning Commission to review the county's regulation of billboards in general and of electronic signs in particular.
Meeting to discuss the issue last Wednesday, the members accepted an ordinance that tightly defined how billboards function, how they are maintained and where they can be placed. It also reaffirmed county ordinances passed in 1994 that forbid new billboards of any kind.
"The good news," Deputy County Attorney Stephen G. Judy told the commission, "is we can prevent any more of these billboards." This can be done, he said, through the existing classification of "nonconforming billboards."
Judy pointed out that any billboard lawfully erected before Aug. 9, 1994, that is larger than 50 square feet (standard billboards are triple that size) is a non-conforming billboard. Therefore no billboard within the county should be allowed to be converted into an electronic billboard since the cost far exceeds the "replacement cost, new" of existing nonconforming signs.
The present electronic billboards have been adaptations of existing poster-style billboard structures. One of the questions raised by county planners is how the conversion of older billboards into LED signs fits within the legal financial restrictions on the cost of maintaining and repairing large road signs. Present law states that the cost of renovating a billboard can be no more than 50 percent of the cost of erecting a brand-new sign.
"The cost of an LED sign can be $500,000," Judy pointed out, which is far more than the total cost of an entire traditional billboard.
Judy reported that the county may be precluded from doing anything about the three existing LED boards. The Code of Virginia states that the county must appeal to the Virginia Department of Transportation commissioner's office within 30 days to block a billboard application deemed objectionable.
"Our failure to raise the issue within 30 days precludes any further challenge," his statement said. But, he added, "our existing ordinances will prevent any further electronic billboard signs [of more than 50 square feet] from cropping up."
Lamar Advertising Co. owns the LED billboards in Stafford County.
"We have no evidence of there being any distraction to drivers" by the new signs, the company's attorney Chip Dicks said in an interview.
Dicks, who also represents the Outdoor Advertising Association of Virginia, helped draft the the 1999 Virginia legislation permitting the LED signs. That law restricts any motion, pulsating pictures or intermittent lights. "No flash, no blink, no move," Dicks said.
Cessie Howell of the Historic Port of Falmouth Association expressed concern in an interview that "this electronic technology may spread." The LED billboard on U.S. 1 just north of U.S. 17 is within the Falmouth Historic District. So is a large standard billboard nearby at the northern approach to the Falmouth Bridge over the Rappahannock River.
Howell wants them all taken down.

Source: The Free Lance Star, Fredricksburg, VA.

Stuart FLA. rethinks allowing 2 signs

Thursday, June 07, 2007

STUART — For a couple of signs that don't exist, they've stirred up plenty of talk in the city.
Two proposed electronic billboards will be at the center of discussion again Monday, when city commissioners reconsider whether to allow the signs on two city parcels: one just north of the Roosevelt Bridge near Fork Road; the other near the intersection of Kanner Highway and Monterey Road.

Commissioners decided about a year ago to allow Lamar Advertising Co. to put up two of the electronic signs, which would measure about 378 square feet and flash a different message every eight seconds.
In April, commissioners agreed the signs could go on city land, but they decided to reconsider about two weeks later, when Commissioner Michael Mortell said he didn't know how vehemently Mayor Mary Hutchinson and Commissioner Carol Waxler opposed the location of the signs, particularly the one near the Roosevelt Bridge, which is considered by many to be a gateway to the city.
"I personally think the bridge is pretty neat," Waxler said. "For a bridge, it's a pretty nice piece of architecture, and I just don't like the idea of a big billboard there."
A handful of residents also have spoken out against the proposed sign near the bridge, as has Fred Matos, chief operating officer of the Crexent Business Center, which sits on the west side of U.S. 1 along Fork Road.
"If you get a digital sign, you'll take the visibility away from our building and take it straight to the sign," said Matos, who added that his company picked its site for the visibility. "It's a detriment to our business."
Lamar executive Jim Maskas said he was unaware of any businesses complaining about the proposed sign near the Roosevelt Bridge, though he would be "willing to listen" to any concerns.
During Monday's commission meeting, Maskas will show video footage of digital signs found elsewhere in the state, which hopefully will clear up misconceptions about the signs, said Maskas, vice president and general manager of Lamar Lakeland, the division that would erect the signs in Stuart.
"It's not anything like a Vegas 'Circus Circus' type thing," Maskas said. "There's no movement at all, other than when it changes messages."
According to City Attorney Paul Nicoletti, commissioners have three legal options regarding the signs: They can implement the agreement as is, seek a compromise or break the agreement, which would send the matter back to the city's code enforcement magistrate.
In the case of the third option, Lamar would have the right to sue only if the magistrate decided to amend the agreement and the company didn't want to do so, Nicoletti said.
City consultant Terry O'Neil said a compromise could call for Lamar to move the sign proposed for the base of the Roosevelt Bridge to another location farther north along U.S. 1. In exchange, the city could opt to allow the company to retain some of its existing 13 traditional billboards, which would have to be taken down under the current agreement.
The issue of electronic signs first came up after Lamar wrongfully repaired billboards damaged by the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes without the proper permits, Nicoletti said.
Lamar agreed to take down all 13 billboards in the city if commissioners allowed two electronic ones.
Maskas said his company is "not ruling anything out" in regards to a compromise, though he questioned criticism of putting a sign near the Roosevelt Bridge when "there are four boards there right now."
The digital displays, he said, would be more "aesthetically pleasing" than these older billboards made of wood.
Should commissioners balk at having a sign near the Roosevelt Bridge, Lamar already has applied for a permit to install an electronic sign just north of Wright Boulevard on the west side of U.S. 1.
Waxler said she would be willing to consider moving the site of the proposed sign away from the Roosevelt Bridge to a spot farther north "where it doesn't stand out as significantly." But she still has concerns about the second sign near the intersection of Monterey Road and Kanner Highway.
"I think that location is dangerous," Waxler said. "People are really going fast coming off the Palm City Bridge, and it's hard enough to know if you're in the right lane without a sign distracting you."
Mortell said he favors breaking the contract so the city can do away with the electronic signs altogether, even if it means allowing Lamar to keep up all its traditional billboards or risking a lawsuit.
Hutchinson, who joined Mortell and Waxler in voting to reconsider the matter, said moving the proposed Roosevelt Bridge sign wouldn't address her concerns about the second sign. Like Waxler, she thinks the sign would be dangerous in "one of the busiest intersections we have in the city."
Should the company and the city settle on a specific agreement, Lamar could have the digital signs installed within two to three months, Maskas said.
Monday's commission meet starts at 5:30 p.m. at city hall, 121 S.W. Flagler Ave.

Source : Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Rachel Simmonsen

Digital Billboard Must Go- PennDOT

Wednesday, April 25, 4:29 p.m.

PennDOT says a developer has to take down a giant digital billboard along Interstate 80 in Monroe County. If not, the state will do it.
Click for larger image
This is the billboard along Interstate 80 in Monroe County that PennDOT said must go.
The big electronic sign lights up the night sky at the Bartonsville exit of interstate 80 but PennDOT said that's not the reason why the sign has to come down. The reason is what is advertised on the sign.
PennDOT said government regulations forbid signs near an interstate interchange advertising any businesses that are not at that interchange.
Since the electronic sign at the Bartonsville exit does advertise other businesses, PennDOT said the sign violates the rules and has to come down.
In addition, according to PennDOT, the developer never got a permit to put up the billboard.
The developer that has the billboard, The Crossroads, said there was an old-style billboard in place since 1969 and it was converted into an electronic sign last summer.
PennDOT said it just recently realized the sign was in violation for advertising off-site businesses.
People have mixed reaction about the electronic sign. "I don't really have a problem with it but it is, it does strike people, you know. It puts your attention on the sign as opposed to your driving," said Donna Barnello.
"It's really bright, super bright, too bright. It kind of blinds you," said John Spicer of Stroudsburg.
But some people who are used to the lights of the city don't mind the bright sign.
"I didn't even think about anything about this," one driver said.
PennDOT said The Crossroads has the option to appeal. The developer won't comment on the issue.

Source : The News Station 16 WNEP By Rosa Yum

Burlington Council decides on Billbboards

City council to decide on billboard

April 24, 2007 - 10:34PM

The motion died for lack of a second but sprang back to life after a little discussion. Now it’s the Burlington City Council’s turn to decide whether an electronic billboard will spring up along the interstate just west of the county’s N.C. Highway Patrol office. On Monday, the Burlington Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-2 to recommend a request from SDL Properties LLC to put a double-sided digital sign on the northeast corner of land it owns north of Hanford Road and east of Maple Avenue. Burlington attorney Charles Bateman made the request on behalf of SDL partners Mike Shoffner, Mike Davis and Barry Lowe. The wooded land just south of Interstate 85/40 is zoned industrial but is accessible only by traveling through a residential area on Lawndale Drive, Bateman said. A ravine cuts through the middle of the SDL property. That and its landlocked status makes a billboard the only practical use for the land, Bateman said. “Frankly, it’s a little bit difficult to come up with an appropriate use for this property,” Bateman said. “In our opinion, this is not an untimely intrusion in the neighborhood.” SDL also worked out a deal for an easement through property off Lawndale Drive to the SDL property, Bateman said. The United Pentecostal Church of Burlington will get a portion of the 5.5-acre property as part of the agreement. No residents, church members or officials spoke against the property. City Planning Director Bob Harkrader asked board members to reject the request. A favorable recommendation might set a bad precedent for the city, Harkrader said. “I don’t think that it’s good policy to establish a location for a billboard sign just in and of itself (for a rezoning). I’m afraid if you do this for signs only … I’m just not sure where it ends.” Responding to a question from board member Richard Franks, Harkrader said two other rezonings would allow a billboard on the property. Bateman, answering a question from board member Lynn Cowan, said SDL wasn’t opposed to an alternate industrial or business rezoning, but sought a conditional-use permit to limit other types of development on the property and “lessen the impact” on the neighborhood. The conditional-use permit is a good fit, Bateman added. Board member Gordon Millspaugh’s motion to recommend the request was met with silence from the rest of the board. Bateman reiterated the church’s support for the project and Millspaugh spoke in favor of it. The city doesn’t want the interstate corridor filled with billboards, but the request seems to be suitable given its landlocked status, Millspaugh reasoned. “I make a motion to get it out on the table so we can vote it down.” Board member John Black seconded the motion and the board approved it 3-2. Board Secretary Paul Cobb, Millspaugh and Black voted in favor. Cowan and member Greg Hargrave voted against.

Source: Burlington Times News

Ruling on sign runs into snag, Billings, Montana

Published on Friday, May 04, 2007.

By TOM HOWARD Of The Gazette Staff

The Montana Transportation Commission has delayed for 30 days its decision on a plan to allow a company to erect an electronic billboard on Main Street near MetraPark.Transportation Commission Chairman Bill Kennedy said the commission delayed action because Tim Reardon, an attorney who represents both the Montana Department of Transportation and the board, disqualified himself from the case. An attorney for Lamar Advertising, the company applying for the sign permit, said Reardon should declare a conflict of interest because he can't represent the MDT and the commission, Kennedy said.Kennedy, who is also a Yellowstone County commissioner, said he also recused himself from the discussion because Lamar had questioned the legality of proposed electronic message boards that will be built as part of a new advertising program for MetraPark. The discussion on Lamar's proposal will be led by Vice Chairwoman Nancy Espy, Kennedy said. He said the commission will hire an outside lawyer for representation during the meeting on Lamar's case.For more than a year, Lamar Advertising has been trying to obtain a permit that would allow it to construct a "commercial electronic variable message sign" on a billboard that the company owns near the Country Inn and Suites Motel, just a few hundred yards from MetraPark."Commercial electronic variable message sign" is the term that MDT uses for an electronic billboard, a new type of sign technology in which printed paper or vinyl is replaced by thousands of computer-controlled light-emitting diodes. LED billboards show the same kind of "static" advertisements - pictures and text - that appear on traditional printed billboards, but the message can be changed quickly.The MDT denied Lamar's application for an electronic billboard last year, and Lamar appealed. A hearing officer upheld the denial earlier this year, and the sign company has appealed the decision to the commission.Paul Dennehy, general manager for Lamar Advertising, said his company's proposal isn't much different from outdoor electronic reader boards that will be used as part of a new MetraPark's advertising plan for MetraPark. The new plan uses electronic signs located inside and outside the arena.MDT Director Jim Lynch said Lamar's request to build an electronic billboard on Main Street was rejected because it would feature "off-premises advertising" - a promotion for a business that's not where the sign is. MetraPark's proposed electronic signs comply with MDT regulations because it will advertise only products and services available on site, Lynch said in an earlier interview with The Gazette.Kennedy said MDT officials met recently with the commissioners and MetraPark staff to discuss the electronic signs. MetraPark's new signs comply with MDT regulations, he said.

Source: Billings Gazette

Pocono, PA -local comments on Digital Billboards

Review sign rules before it's too late

March 28, 2007

Municipal officials, take note. If you don't attend to your sign ordinances you will have signs you don't want and the wrath of the public as well. And no help from the courts or state agencies in controlling them.If the flashing electronic billboard at the Crossroads site in Bartonsville hasn't rattled people into action yet, the proposed electronic billboard that Mount Airy Resort and Casino wants on Route 611 should. And these are only two of the controversial signs that have piqued local interest and chagrin in recent months.Before the Crossroads sign plugged into the grid along Interstate 80 without a required state permit, Pocono Township tried to stop an earlier electronic sign at another location, and failed. Last summer the township issued a cease-and-desist order after discovering the owner of an existing Route 611 billboard was converting it to an electronic tri-vision sign. Pocono requires approval before sign owners can modify or expand an existing non-conforming sign. However, a Monroe County Court judge denied the order. He ruled that converting a traditional billboard into a changing, three-message board was "an incidental alteration because it does not change the original dimensions, purpose or function of the original sign in any way."Yet another sign that evaded residents' radar is a tall lighted billboard alongside I-80 in Delaware Water Gap. The sign passed official muster without input from neighbors, who are now complaining about the light shining on their properties.Now Mount Airy casino officials are proposing a 12- by 15-foot sign with a video screen with light-emitting diode or LED technology. They want to put the sign along Route 611 at Woodland Road, which leads to the under-construction slots resort. Paradise Township's sign ordinance does not address electronic signs.Close to 400 electronic billboards now dot the nation's landscape, including Monroe County. Savvy sign companies know just how to place them and where sign rules are lax, unenforced or even welcoming. Many local residents consider the signs offensive, out of keeping with the Poconos' rural character. Others consider them so distracting as to constitute driving hazards. However, so far PennDOT and the Monroe County Court have turned a blind eye.Thus, municipal officials in fast-growing, fast-changing Monroe County must review their ordinances now, specifically addressing electronic, lighted or moving signs. And they must enforce their own rules. No one else is going to do it for them.

Source : Pocono Record

Billboards go High TECH

March 28, 2007 Lee County --

In Albany and Lee County, it's a sign of the times, billboards are changing. Digital billboards are already up in 44 states from California to Connecticut.Last week they were erected along Dawson Road and Ledo Road. Twenty years ago the city of Albany adopted a sign ordinance that prohibits flashy, rolling signs. Now, leaders are trying to determine where these signs fit into the law. We're here on Ledo Road in Lee County because this board will be the first one on. They're testing it tonight, but the city of Albany is concerned about the billboard on Dawson and how it might affect driver's attention.
"Twenty years ago to put up a billboard you had to send two guys out there and have them paint and it took two days, now with this you can have a message change with inside an hour," said Lamar Advertising General Manager James Locke.
By using the Internet, Lamar Advertising's newest digital billboard can hold six ads that can change as frequently as the customer wants to update the information.
"The ads change every ten seconds, it's a seamless change, there's no blinking, no flashing, no scrolling or anything like that, it's just a quick change," said Locke.
One of the main concerns with these new digital billboards is signs like Darton's that change rapidly with animated graphics is that they could distract drivers.
"The state ordinance allows as it stands right now for the frequency of these electronic type signs to change every ten seconds. We as a community are of the opinion that, that's very frequent," said Sr. Manager of Development Services, Tracy Hester.
Albany is looking at amending the city's sign ordinance to address those concerns. "We are addressing an amendment to the sign ordinance to put in a frequency of change or a duration of change to prevent that," Hester said.
The city wants to expand the frequency to as much as three minutes before driver's get a look at the next ad.
"The frequency of change, the light intensity, the actual motion picture ability of these signs is there and that's something I think we need to guard against for security and safety purposes," Hester said.
Thursday, drivers along Ledo Road will get the first look at the billboard, and the billboard along Dawson Road will be turned on Friday. For the first several weeks, Lamar Advertising will just be testing the boards to make sure they work, but after that you'll start to see real advertisements.According to Lamar, the ads on these board are expected to look pretty much like most billboards you see, just flat, static, images, nothing flashing and no animation. So far they have sold ad space to several banks, restaurants, and even a local hospital.
Lamar Advertising installed a similar sign in Valdosta in December, with only positive feedback.

Clear Channel Outdoor expands electronic billboards to 10 markets

San Antonio Business Journal - April 2, 2007

Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. has added four new U.S. markets to its digital billboard network.
Clear Channel Outdoor (NYSE: CCO) has added Memphis; Wichita, Kan.; and Akron and Columbus, Ohio, to its roster of cities with digital billboards. This brings its total number of markets to 10.
In Memphis, the company has five 14' by 48' electronic bulletins. Akron has six 14' by 48' bulletins. Wichita and Columbus each have six 12' by 24' poster-sized displays.
All of the networks rotate advertising copy in an 8-second loop, giving them the ability to display 1,250 advertising spots a day.
"The addition of these four networks has us well on the way to reaching our goal of at least 100 new networked digital billboards in approximately 20 markets by the end of 2007," says Paul Meyer, global president of Clear Channel Outdoor.
"Digital technology is playing an increasingly important role in meeting our advertisers' needs and enabling us to provide an invaluable emergency messaging system to the communities in which we do business," he says.
Clear Channel Outdoor's billboards in Cleveland, Las Vegas and Minneapolis/St. Paul are working with law enforcement to carry Amber Alerts on the network to post information on missing and abducted children.
Clear Channel Outdoor is the world's largest outdoor advertising company with more than 973,000 displays in more than 60 countries. In the United States alone, the company operates more than 167,000 advertising displays in 49 of the top 50 markets. The company is majority owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc. (NYSE: CCU) in San Antonio.
Web site:

City revokes permit for electronic sign

By ERIN EDGEMON-March 27, 2007-3:41 PM

The city of Murfreesboro has revoked a sign permit issued to Lamar Advertising for a billboard sign off Old Fort Parkway for being in violation of city code.A letter notifying the advertising agency of the revocation was mailed out to Lamar and its legal representation March 27. Lamar Advertising installed the colorful electronic sign that changes images every few seconds sometime in the last two weeks. The city has permitted the company to reinstall a conventional billboard sign near the freestanding Starbucks. Chris Shofner, Murfreesboro public information officer, said Lamar has 10 days to bring the sign into compliance. He said it is "premature" to say whether a lawsuit would be filed if Lamar doesn't comply. Lamar was permitted to "demolish and reconstruct an indirectly illuminated billboard which contained no moving devices. The declared value was $24,000, stated the letter.The letter also stated that Lamar Advertising had requested a "renewal permit" and desired to reinstall a conventional billboard.The Murfreesboro Building and Codes staff have recommended prohibiting the use of electronic signs in the city. The issue has been discussed in several meetings before the Murfreesboro Planning Commission and City Council over the last several months.??City Council have yet to take a vote on the matter, but a moratorium on the approval of or installation of any such sign is in effect until April 27. Its unknown when the issue will be readdressed by the City Council.??The local sign industry have made it no secret that it opposes a proposed ban on all electronic signs. Representatives hope to meet with the city to come up with an alternative proposal. City staff said electronic signs are a distraction for motorists and are concerned about the number of electronic signs that could be installed in the city with their growing popularity in the industry.Mike Scott, of Signs by Scott, said electronic signs like the one installed by Lamar Advertising costs approximately $400,000.A message left for Lawrence Leibowitz, of Leibowitz and Cohen law firm, who is representing Lamar Advertising was not returned before deadline.Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at

Electronic displays: Hot trend or next standard?

Debbie Griffith
River Falls Journal Friday, March 30, 2007

Most people in River Falls have noticed Walgreens’ flashing-red electronic display sign — the first of its kind in River Falls and perhaps the most technologically advanced. As local restaurateur Kevin Pechacek recently pointed out: More may follow it. “Everyone should know they can get one now,” he said. Pechacek owns and operates The West Wind Supper Club on north Main Street and remodeled his sign a little more than a year ago. He looked into the popular light-emitting diode (LED) electronic display signs. “It’s the convenience of the thing,” said Pechacek about why he checked the option. During research, he discovered that he needed a special permit from the city in order to put up an LED sign. He needed to apply, pay a $2,060 permit application fee then wait to

Senic America voices safty concerns

Google Doing Electronic Billboards

January 18, 2007

Google wants to control all advertising, and, according to some patent filings, it looks like they are definitely moving in that direction. According to an article from Clickz, a patent filing from Google on technology to let local stores tie their stock computers to a Google powered ad network, means they are definitely thinking beyond newspapers and radio advertising. This filing covers systems and methods to allocate advertising space in a “network of electronic display devices.” So, this could cover billboards, ATM machines, kiosks in malls, about any digital display, heck why not TV’s in some stores where companies could show ads for some of their stock currently in the store.
If patent filings are anything to go by, contextual advertising powered by Google will start appearing on digital billboards in a shopping mall near you.
The idea is to tie billboard advertising in local malls to actual products for sale nearby, much like the company’s flagship Google AdWords/AdSense network that handles contextual advertising on the Internet.The patent filing, first reported by New Scientist magazine, describes a way for retailers to put categories of products up for purchase in the vicinity of a display device.
If the filing is a sign of things to come from Google, kiosk-type billboards, ATM machines and other digital displays in malls and hotel lobbies could start hawking products directly from a nearby retailer’s inventory.Nowadays, advertising in these screens are limited to looped, poster-type advertisements of movie promotions and other nearby events but, in Google’s eye, the ads could be pulled directly from a merchant’s stock control system. Source: Google Patent Filing Hints at Digital Billboard Ad Network
We are currently being flooded with advertising everywhere, my current broadband Suddenlink, formerly Charter Communications, has started placing banner ads alongside the web mail interface. This really pisses me off, I am already paying for this service, I don’t want to be shown ads because they can, if it was free I wouldn’t mind it, but not when I pay for the service. If Google had already rolled out the ability for everyone to pull in all their email from POP accounts, I wouldn’t be using the web mail interface at all. I will be dropping that email address and I will tell them where to stick when they make me move to the Suddenlink address. I called a customer service rep and he said our marketing guys said we should, so they did and they can’t remove them, so they can shove them where the sun don’t currently shine.
The ATM ad make me mad to, charge me for withdrawals from non-network ATM’s, charge me fees for using their own ATM’s and now they want me to look at ads after I get my money out? What kind of crap is that, just gimme me card back and my receipt, and stop ruining my life. Chase can shove those ads as well, I haven’t called them yet to let them know I will be switching banks, but I will when it happens.

Source: Jimmy

TxDOT says S.P.I.D. electronic billboard must go

Sep 15, 2006 06:02 PM EDT

CORPUS CHRISTI - It's one of three local billboards from Lamar Advertising, which the Texas Department of Public Safety said don't meet federal standards, and it will either have to come down or be turned off.
The electronic billboard in question is located on S.P.I.D. between Weber and Everhart, near the Time-Warner building. TxDOT also said the company's two tri-fold billboards on S.P.I.D. and the Crosstown Expressway are also in violation.
TxDOT said the boards are distracting to drivers. Anyone who has driven on S.P.I.D. lately can see that it is hard to miss the latest technology in advertising. The 48-foot display changes advertisers every eight seconds.
It's on the cutting edge of advertising, and TxDOT said it has to go.
"These signs are illegal so the state has to follow federal law, and they are illegal signs," Cliff Bost of TxDOT said. "They need to be removed."
TxDOT officials said that that sign, along with two tri-fold advertisements, violate the Federal Highway Beautification Act and are distracting to drivers.
"If you've got a lot of flashing or movement going on, that does typically catch people's eyes, and while you're driving, you need to focus on the roadway.," Bost said.
Officials with Lamar Advertising said the signs do not violate the law, and they add, the city approved the permits and TxDOT should not step in. In a letter to City Manager Skip Noe, one of Lamar's attorneys said, "because of the city's certified status, this permit is accepted in lieu of a permit issued by the Texas Department of Transportation."
The letter goes on to say, "The city's size, lighting and spacing requirements for outdoor advertising signs may be more or less restrictive than the criteria applicable to non-certified cities."
TxDOT officials said the difference between the billboard and other electronic advertising down the street at Appliance Mart is a question of who owns the property.
"As long as the billboard is on your property, advertising your business, then it's okay," Bost said.
Lamar has a billboards like the one in question in places like Victoria, and there's no opposition to it. City officials said they are awaiting clarification of the law, but for now, the signs stay on.

Milwaukee expected to OK Billboards- May 2006

Highway signs could go high-tech; Doyle expected to OK billboard

Electronic billboards resembling giant high-definition TV screens would be allowed under state law for the first time in Wisconsin along the interstate and state highway systems under legislation expected to be signed soon by Gov. Jim Doyle.
Environmental advocates have urged Doyle to veto the bill, arguing that the large electronic signs, with pictures and messages that could be programmed to change as often as every six seconds, would mar the landscape, cause light pollution and be so distracting to drivers they'd be traffic safety hazards.
"We think it's intrusive on the landscape and distracting from a safety perspective," said Lisa MacKinnon, policy director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, an environmental and land-use planning advocacy group.

"Plus, it's the outdoor equivalent of telemarketing: You don't get any choice in the matter."
But officials of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin, which lobbied in favor of the bill, say the measure would allow them to market the latest technological advances in their industry. They note that changeable electronic billboards along highways have not proved to be safety problems in other states and believe much of opponents' stance against the bill is rooted in a broader issue.
"It sounds to me like they just don't like billboards," said Dan Pomeroy, real estate and public affairs manager for Pewaukee-based advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor and president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin.
Matthew Canter, a spokesman for Doyle, said the governor is expected to sign the bill.
Only one such changeable electronic billboard now exists along a highway in Wisconsin. The billboard advertising Potawatomi Bingo Casino, with a changing LED display to publicize events and promotions near the Marquette Interchange, was permitted by the state Department of Transportation years ago even though it does not meet state law.
The DOT's own message boards installed over the traffic lanes at various locations along the interstate system in the Milwaukee area also utilize this LED technology.
But the new electronic highway advertising signs that would be permitted under the bill, given final legislative approval last month, are expected to be much more sophisticated and high-tech, resembling the flashy, full-color displays outside Miller Park, State Fair Park and the Bradley Center. Those displays are permitted under current state law because they are classified as "on- premises" business signs, not highway signs.
No moving pictures
The difference between those signs and the new electronic highway billboards is that the highway signs would be prohibited from displaying moving pictures, such as video images, or scrolling or segmented messages. But the entire image would be allowed to change as frequently as every six seconds, with the change of images required to be accomplished in one second or less.
The electronic billboards most likely would be 672 square feet in size, the size of most non-electronic billboards today, and be primarily in urban areas, said Janet Swandby, executive director and lobbyist for the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin.
She said the image quality of the electronic billboards, which cost about $500,000 each, would be very good but that they would look very much like today's non-electronic billboards, only with pictures and messages that change electronically.
"It truly is like high-definition TV quality," she said of the electronic billboards.
"They look no different from any (highway) billboard you see in Wisconsin today, but they change within a second to another billboard that looks just like one you see today."
Swandby said electronic billboards emit no more light, and possibly less, than current billboards lighted by floodlights at night. She also said outdoor advertising companies in Wisconsin are expected to follow industry practice in other states that allow electronic billboards and agree to use them to notify motorists of traffic and weather emergencies and Amber alerts employed after reported child kidnappings.
Opponents of the high-tech billboards remain distressed at the thought of glowing, constantly changing signs lining Wisconsin highways.
"We've already destroyed the visual aesthetic of Wisconsin with billboards," said Allen Stasiewski, vice president of the Waukesha Environmental Action League.
"Now we're going to allow them to be lit and flashing at us."

Clear Channels efforts in Tucson, Arizona

Note: given the interrelationship between this ordinance and SB 1138 in the state legislature, it would be appropriate for those from Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, etc. to put a word in on this too, particularly since defeat of this ordinance in Tucson could reinvigorate Clear Channel's efforts in the legislature.The Tucson Mayor and Council will hold a public hearing on June 9 on an ordinance to expressly prohibit billboards with electronic displays or rotating "tri-vision" panels. Currently, no billboards in Tucson have these types of displays, and they are not allowed due to a code interpretation that considers them to be an impermissible expansion of a nonconforming use. This will be the first public hearing before Mayor and Council related to billboards in a number of years.
Fairway Outdoor Advertising Co.
February 20, 2007Fairway Unveils its First Digital BillboardAUGUSTA, Ga.,

Fairway Outdoor Advertising is riding the wave of the digital revolution with the unveiling of its first state-of-the-art electronic billboard in Greenville, S.C. The announcement was made today by William S. Morris IV, president of Morris Communications Company, LLC."The digital billboard represents the leading edge of technology and we know it will greatly enhance service to our customers," Morris said. "This is the first of many digital billboards for Fairway. We are excited about our deployment and will continue our rollout in other Fairway markets in the Southeast."The billboard is 14 ft. by 48 ft. and messages will change every eight seconds, giving advertisers message flexibility. The new billboard also permits advertisers to target their messages to specific days or certain times of the day."If a restaurant is advertising breakfast in the morning, we could change the billboard signage later to reflect the lunch or dinner message," said Mark Moyer, president of Fairway Outdoor Advertising. "The advantage of this computer-controlled display is that it allows advertisers to change their messages as often as they like."The sign could also be changed to reflect daily specials, a limited-time sale or weather-sensitive promotions, Moyer said. The electronic billboard can hold as many different messages as needed.Headquartered in Augusta, Fairway Outdoor Advertising has branch offices in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Fairway also provides services to clients in Virginia and Alabama. For more information, visit Communications Company, LLC is a privately held media company with diversified holdings that include newspaper publishing, visitor guide publishing, outdoor advertising, magazine publishing, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution and online services. For more information, visit

Magink Displays December 2006

LONDON: With regulators waging war on unhealthy diets, cholesterol is an unpopular byproduct of some foods. But it may have found a new role in advertising.
An Israeli company called Magink has developed a billboard technology that uses, yes, a type of synthetically produced cholesterol to help display digital images. The material is sandwiched in a thin layer underneath a transparent screen. When electrical impulses are applied, the wily molecules change shape and size, forming full-color images.
JCDecaux, an outdoor advertising company based in France, tested the billboards during the Cannes International Film Festival last spring, and they are getting a longer look in London, where the billboard division of Clear Channel Communications has set up eight of the screens.
Under a new agreement, the Magink technology is set to be introduced next year in the United States by Lamar Outdoor Advertising, an American billboard operator. Lamar plans to set up an unspecified number of Magink billboards in the United States, starting in the second half of 2007.
This technology is one of a number of ways in which outdoor advertising companies are trying to update the old-fashioned billboard for the digital era. By replacing paper and paste with electronic screens, billboard companies can control advertising sites from a computer in an office, allowing advertisers to update them as they see fit.

Magink says its technology is an improvement on existing electronic billboard technologies like the LED, or light emitting diode. LEDs produce giant, colorful electronic images, but they sometimes fade in strong sunlight.
They also have a grainier picture than the Magink screens, which the company says offer high-resolution images that resemble paper rather than television screens.
"After a long period in which nothing changed in outdoor, this is unique," Ran Poliakine, founder of Magink.
Lamar has already installed hundreds of LED screens in a number of U.S. states, but their use has been restricted by regulations governing traffic safety or visual pollution, said Bill Ripp, director of Lamar's digital division.
Because the Magink screens give off less light, he said, "they might be better received in terms of the legislative environment."
While lawmakers and regulators may prefer a less glaring image, some advertisers are skeptical.
In London, Clear Channel has been operating Magink billboards for several months but is still trying to iron out problems with them, said Barry Sayer, chief executive of the British division of Clear Channel Outdoor.
"I must say, advertiser support has been low," he said. "It's a bit of an education process."
Clear Channel has made the billboards available free to advertisers like The Independent, Sayer said, but some potential clients want to see a brighter image before committing to running campaigns.
He said the company was working on that problem with Magink and intended to attract paying customers by early next year.
Several low-cost airlines, attracted by the ability to update fare offers throughout the day, have expressed interest, Sayer said.
Another potential problem is the relatively small size of Magink screens, which are restricted, for now, to 6 meters by 3 meters, or about 20 feet by 10 feet. In the United States, a typical billboard alongside a highway is 48 feet by 14 feet.
Poliakine said Magink, which is privately held and based in a suburb of Jerusalem, is developing a larger billboard. The company has received interest in its technology from billboard operators in other markets, too, he said.
While digital billboards are more expensive to install than the paper kind, the Magink screens cost less than half the roughly $25,000 price of an LED-based billboard, he said.
The Magink screens also cost less to run because they use only one- tenth as much power as an LED screen, Poliakine said. Instead of emitting light, the technology uses reflected light from the sun, or an artificial source at night, to help create the images.
"We'd like to do our digital revolution as energy-conservatively as we can," Sayer said.LONDON: With regulators waging war on unhealthy diets, cholesterol is an unpopular byproduct of some foods. But it may have found a new role in advertising.
An Israeli company called Magink has developed a billboard technology that uses, yes, a type of synthetically produced cholesterol to help display digital images. The material is sandwiched in a thin layer underneath a transparent screen. When electrical impulses are applied, the wily molecules change shape and size, forming full-color images.
JCDecaux, an outdoor advertising company based in France, tested the billboards during the Cannes International Film Festival last spring, and they are getting a longer look in London, where the billboard division of Clear Channel Communications has set up eight of the screens.
Under a new agreement, the Magink technology is set to be introduced next year in the United States by Lamar Outdoor Advertising, an American billboard operator. Lamar plans to set up an unspecified number of Magink billboards in the United States, starting in the second half of 2007.
This technology is one of a number of ways in which outdoor advertising companies are trying to update the old-fashioned billboard for the digital era. By replacing paper and paste with electronic screens, billboard companies can control advertising sites from a computer in an office, allowing advertisers to update them as they see fit.

Magink says its technology is an improvement on existing electronic billboard technologies like the LED, or light emitting diode. LEDs produce giant, colorful electronic images, but they sometimes fade in strong sunlight.
They also have a grainier picture than the Magink screens, which the company says offer high-resolution images that resemble paper rather than television screens.
"After a long period in which nothing changed in outdoor, this is unique," Ran Poliakine, founder of Magink.
Lamar has already installed hundreds of LED screens in a number of U.S. states, but their use has been restricted by regulations governing traffic safety or visual pollution, said Bill Ripp, director of Lamar's digital division.
Because the Magink screens give off less light, he said, "they might be better received in terms of the legislative environment."
While lawmakers and regulators may prefer a less glaring image, some advertisers are skeptical.
In London, Clear Channel has been operating Magink billboards for several months but is still trying to iron out problems with them, said Barry Sayer, chief executive of the British division of Clear Channel Outdoor.
"I must say, advertiser support has been low," he said. "It's a bit of an education process."
Clear Channel has made the billboards available free to advertisers like The Independent, Sayer said, but some potential clients want to see a brighter image before committing to running campaigns.
He said the company was working on that problem with Magink and intended to attract paying customers by early next year.
Several low-cost airlines, attracted by the ability to update fare offers throughout the day, have expressed interest, Sayer said.
Another potential problem is the relatively small size of Magink screens, which are restricted, for now, to 6 meters by 3 meters, or about 20 feet by 10 feet. In the United States, a typical billboard alongside a highway is 48 feet by 14 feet.
Poliakine said Magink, which is privately held and based in a suburb of Jerusalem, is developing a larger billboard. The company has received interest in its technology from billboard operators in other markets, too, he said.
While digital billboards are more expensive to install than the paper kind, the Magink screens cost less than half the roughly $25,000 price of an LED-based billboard, he said.
The Magink screens also cost less to run because they use only one- tenth as much power as an LED screen, Poliakine said. Instead of emitting light, the technology uses reflected light from the sun, or an artificial source at night, to help create the images.
"We'd like to do our digital revolution as energy-conservatively as we can," Sayer said.